Ryan Jones - Dream Escapes with a Side of the Surreal
Ryan Jones, Island Hopping, Oil on Canvas, 60 x 72 inches
Ryan Jones’ work combines elements of the surreal with luxe, Pop referential imagery, bringing us into a world of mystery and intrigue with a little bit of the uncanny. Luxurious, lustrous, and lush scenarios introduce us to a world of a stolen moment, presented through a hyper realistic visual collage.
Working with oil, Jones’ technique shows a consideration of the Flemish masters to achieve beautifully tonal surfaces, and a photorealistic finish. His chosen scenarios play into the thrill of travel, exploration as well as a nostalgia for the past through aesthetic cues of the luxury lifestyle and a casino chic sensibility. Red lips, palm trees, and the bright poppy colors of the 50s and 60s are frequent elements in his work.
Ryan Jones, Extended Vacation, Oil on Canvas, 72 x 60 inches
Beautiful, smooth bodies are found transfixed, tethered to reality through the physicality of their presence, yet suspended in a state of a dream collage. Jones describes his aesthetic as a “ fusion of the real and surreal.” Rather than presenting us with a straightforward image, the artist plays with our perception of the assumed visual storyline by incorporating maps or other printed materials into the background. In this way Jones juxtaposes the stillness of the figures with the idea of movement and travel symbolized by the maps, forcing us to create new narratives based on the fragments or clues that the artist has given us.
Jones’ work both subverts as well as elevates the emblems of mid-20th century America, adding an element of psychological ambiguity. While the true meaning and fate of his scenarios and heroines might remain uncertain, we can certainly indulge in Jones’ opulent textiles, richly pigmented colors and propensity to rendering their likeness to an uncannily realistic level. Most importantly, above even their breathtaking appeal, is the beckoning suggestion of the possibility of the dream escape.